By Ignatius Ushie
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has refuted reports of the federal government’s plan to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also called petrol because the current rate was no longer sustainable.
In a statement issued in Abuja and made available to Transport Day, NNPC advised motorists and other petroleum products consumers to disregard the speculations because the corporation’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Mallam Mele Kyari, who was at the National Assembly recently, did not suggest any plan to hike the price of the product.
According to the corporation’s spokesman, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, what Kyari stated during his engagement with the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, at the National Assembly was that the price of petrol was abysmally low in Nigeria compared to what obtains in neighboring West African countries.
Ughamadu said that Kyari had observed at the event that the huge disparity in the pump price of petrol between Nigeria on the one hand and her neighboring countries on the other hand tended to encourage cross-border leakages, as he sought the support of the leadership of the National Assembly to curb the malaise of smuggling.
He, therefore, advised Nigerians to disregard the insinuation of a planned hike in the price of petrol by the NNPC, saying statutorily, the corporation was not even in a position to regulate the price of petroleum products.
The NNPC’s spokesman said that the organisatio’s role as an operator must be differentiated from that of any of the industry regulators. Ughamadu stated that as directed by relevant agencies of the government, the pump price of petrol remains N145 per litre. He cautioned petroleum products marketers not to sell petrol above N145 per litre following the disclaimed rumour.
NNPC advised Nigerians to remain vigilant and volunteer information to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the industry regulator, or to any law enforcement agency around them, on any station which sells petrol above N145 per liter.